Home Pest Control

How To Get Rid of Fleas

Image of Dog Flea [Ctenocephalides canis] | Ehrlich Pest Control

If your home has an existing flea problem, it is crucial to act straight away as fleas can multiply very quickly

The good news is that if you regularly treat your home and yard, and crucially your pets, it is possible to get rid of fleas.

Ehrlich’s Flea Control Services

Professional flea control treatment is recommended to treat an existing problem. However, good sanitation, which includes vacuuming, also plays a vital role in both flea control and flea prevention.

Getting rid of fleas in your home requires collaboration between homeowners and their local Ehrlich technician to ensure optimum success.

At Ehrlich, we follow four major steps in our approach to flea control.

  • Inspection of your home - contact your local Ehrlich office today!
  • Customer education - it is important to understand fleas, their lifecycle and habits to ensure successful treatment
  • Customer preparation - a crucial part of an effective flea control program is the preparation carried out inside the home by the customer prior to treatment.
  • Targeted flea treatment - based on information received from the customer and findings from the home inspection the most appropriate solution is applied by Ehrlich’s skilled technicians.

Call Ehrlich NOW at (888) 976-4649 for advice or schedule a free flea inspection online today.

Understanding Fleas for Successful Control

Knowledge about fleas and their lifecycle is essential when planning any flea control program. By understanding flea habitats, both homeowners and pest control technicians will know where to focus their control efforts to ensure success.

Adult fleas

Adult fleas must feed on a host animal before it can lay eggs. Adult fleas live primarily on their host animal. Therefore pet care and flea prevention for your pets is critical to a successful flea control plan.

Flea eggs

Flea eggs are laid soon after a blood meal. Eggs are smooth and round and are naturally designed to roll off the host animal and are generally deposited in pet bedding or distributed to other parts of a home where the animal spends time. A female flea lays a few eggs each day and between 200 and 400 in her lifetime. As part of a home inspection, identifying areas your pets like to inhabit is critical to knowing where control efforts need to be concentrated.

Flea Larvae

Flea larvae hatch out of eggs and live in the environment (eg. pet bedding, cat baskets, carpet fibers) and they feed off adult flea feces (flea dirt). Although very small, their white color is visible to the naked eye, especially on dark surfaces. This stage lasts for about 24 days. Flea larvae can be eradicated through the conventional use of a vacuum cleaner.

Flea pupae

The flea larvae spin a cocoon around themselves, which protects them from their surroundings and makes them resistant to pesticides. Fleas can lie dormant in a pupil cocoon for up to 4 months. As more larvae mature and turn into pupae, the number of mature fleas lying dormant can reach very high numbers. This is the reason why upon entering a previously vacant property it is possible for hundreds of fleas to emerge at once, stimulated by the vibration of footsteps and the increase in heat inside a home.

Most importantly, the cocoon protection is the primary reason why it is possible to detect adult flea activity even after professional treatment. Turning up the heat inside a home prior to treatment will help to stimulate adult fleas to emerge from cocoons and thus make them vulnerable to pesticides.

Customer Preparation for Flea Control

At Ehrlich, we strongly advise homeowners to follow a series of steps in preparation for professional flea treatment. We believe that these preparation requirements are vital to a successful flea control program.

See below some of the basic sanitation practices recommended to homeowners:

  • Clear the floors

  • All articles such as toys, pet food, shoes and boxes must be picked up from floors, closets and under beds prior to treatment. These articles may be placed on tables or beds, but not on upholstered furniture that is to be treated.

  • Wash or discard pet bedding

  • Pet bedding should be washed in hot water or discarded. If discarded, place in plastic trash bags and seal tightly.

  • Vacuum floors and upholstered furniture

  • Floors, carpeting and upholstered furniture must be thoroughly vacuumed prior to the treatment. After vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag in tightly sealed plastic bag.

Your local Ehrlich technician will be able to provide you with a full copy of this flea preparation document.

Targeted Flea Treatment

Once the flea hotspots have been identified in your home, it is the job of your local technician to apply appropriate pesticide materials into the affected areas (including under beds and dressers). Special care will be paid to micro-cracks and small voids, where eggs and larvae may have dropped. Basements and garages will also be treated using compressed air sprayers, if required.

In wall-to-wall carpeted rooms, spot applications will be made to areas where pets spend most of their time. Small area carpets will be treated on both sides but larger carpets will be treated mainly on top and under the first few feet of the edge. For oriental and other more valuable rugs, we recommend these are removed prior to treatment and professionally cleaned and treated.

Upholstered furniture will also be treated and applications will concentrate around the edges and seams (and not on the flat seating surfaces). Homeowners will have to allow for some drying time after application of pesticides.

Fish tanks need to be covered and filters turned off during treatment as products used to control fleas are extremely toxic to fish.

Pets during Treatment

Pets will need to be kept out of your home (and possibly yard) during treatment and until the products applied have completely dried. Pet food and water dishes will also need to be removed.

We strongly recommend that your pets are treated for fleas on the same day as treatment for your home. Adult fleas spend most of their time on animals and not in your carpet. Untreated pets will continue to be bothered by fleas and will simply transport fleas back inside your home, making your home treatment ineffective.

Treating your pets for fleas is essential to get rid of fleas in your home!

Flea Control in your Yard

Outside, shaded areas will also be treated if required, along with pet runs, kennels, doghouses and any other flea hotspots discovered during the initial home inspection. It is often not necessary to treat your entire yard, as fleas do not survive well in areas in full sun. Efforts are often concentrated in shadier spots in the yard.

Spot applications, using a backpack or power sprayer, can be made to driveways, patios and porches. People and pets will need to be kept away from these areas until materials have fully dried out.

After Service Care

Good sanitation practices can play a vital role in flea prevention and control. In homes, where there is no pre-existing flea problem, regular cleaning and routine flea care for pets can greatly help to reduce the risk of a flea infestation and the need for professional pest control.

Unfortunately even with the best care, it is difficult to fully protect any dog or cat from fleas, and therefore pet owners will always be at greater risk.

You can still have a problem with fleas even if you do not own pets. Fleas can be carried into a home on a person. Once inside your home, they can bite you, but at least they will be unable to reproduce due to the absence of an animal host. This means that in homes without pets, the use of pesticides is rarely required and a thorough vacuum and sanitation of your home may be all that is needed to control fleas.

Vacuuming

The simple act of regular and thorough vacuuming can make a real difference to flea prevention and control. Detailed vacuuming will remove the majority of fleas, and most importantly all the different life stages of a flea. It also picks up flea dirt (term used to describe dried feHow to get riceaces of fleas), which looks like ground pepper, and which would otherwise help flea larvae to survive.

  • Vacuuming hard to reach areas (and anywhere dust collects), including underneath and behind furniture, as well as the actual upholstered furniture, can significantly reduce the presence of flea eggs or larvae in your home, if they already exist. You must be prepared to move furniture and remove belongings from under beds and closet floors.
  • Vacuum your stairs - do not overlook this well-known hot spot for fleas. Flea eggs will often fall off animals as they run up and down stairways.
  • Hard surfaces (not just carpeted areas) need to be vacuumed - vacuum along baseboards and in crack and crevices (as far as possible) to remove any fleas harboring in these areas. Even concrete floors can be vacuumed.
  • After each vacuum, remove the vacuum bag and dispose of it outside of your home, otherwise there is a risk of fleas (if any have been collected) finding their way out of a vacuum bag and re-infesting your home.

Pet Care

It is almost impossible to fully protect your pet from fleas, as fleas and their eggs can live and survive in grass and soil and in cracks in sidewalks, from where they can hitch-hike a ride into your home on your pet’s fur.

  • Use a flea comb - after use, place comb in detergent water to kill any fleas that may have been collected
  • Wash your pet bedding regularly - and take care when transferring between rooms to avoid spreading flea eggs
  • Mow areas of your lawn, where your pet spends most time
  • Use a veterinarian recommended pet shampoo regularly
  • Use flea collars - these must be placed on correctly to be effective

If you choose to use an over the counter flea treatment for your pet you must be aware that the materials used on cats are different that those used on dogs. Be sure you only use a cat or dog specific material on your pet and consult your vet if there are signs of irritation such as reddening of the skin or if there are thin patches in your pet’s coat.

Prevention is always better than cure, and although it may seem like a lot of effort, these tasks can greatly reduce the risk of a serious flea problem and the need for professional flea treatment.

However, if you have noticed signs of fleas in your home, contact Ehrlich for immediate help or to arrange a FREE pest inspection of your home.

Call Ehrlich at (888) 976-4649 for more advice about fleas.

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